Mayor Layne Wilkerson believes that direct investment from Japan has played a vital role in the growth of Frankfort, as well as in its long-term success. The capital of The Bluegrass State, Frankfort has nurtured a fruitful partnership with Japan over the last few decades.
Frankfort alone hosts nine Japanese businesses and is proud of the increasing economic and cultural diversity that came with the influx of foreign investment.
Among the state’s flagship foreign investors is Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK). The Japanese car giant initiated operations in the state with a manufacturing facility valued at $1.33 billion, around a tenth of the amount to be invested across the whole country over the next five years. This was on top of the nearly $22 billion already invested in the United States.
For Wilkerson, Frankfort must promote new opportunities for Japanese investors in advanced manufacturing, including the “automotive, electric vehicles and food and beverage sectors.”
As the home of world famous bourbon, Frankfort has also attracted interest from whisky-loving Japan. In 2014, Japan-based brewer and distiller Suntory acquired Jim Beam, the well-loved home-grown makers of bourbon whiskey.
Other Japanese companies that found a home in Frankfort are IDT Tools, Inc., Mitsui Kinzoku Catalysts America (MKCA), and Nishida Art Speciality Composite America.
“We are looking forward to exciting new opportunities and partnerships with the wonderful people of Japan. In these difficult times, it’s important to create a strong and durable volume with our economic partners. Frankfort has a proven track record of establishing and maintaining the climate necessary for Japanese companies to locate here and be successful,” the mayor said.